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2000-07-12 13:09:46+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Via /., Larry passes along this note about a company that'll track down negative web board posters for $5k each. Eric and I used to have a company called Hacker for Hire[Wiki] that, based on its name, got a lot of calls for people who wanted us to do some virtual breaking and entering. I can't believe that anyone doing shady stuff that easily looks like it could be on the far side of legal would ask for this much publicity...

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2000-07-12 13:37:54+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

Just to make it easy, the company is eWatch and it appears to be just a high tech private investigation and public relations outfit. Hmm, it might be interesting to talk about them in here and see how good they are.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:10+00 by: petronius

At the turn of the last century, professional rumor agencies were available. For a reasonable fee, you could hire one to send out their agents to engage people in casual conversations in saloons and on streetcars. During the conversation they would mention a story they heard that your competitor's product was assembled by consumptives and substituted arsenic for white sugar. One such firm boasted offices in 13 major cities. Eventually, such blatently and deliberately false statements were brought under the libel laws. I think the Web gives new life to such false tactics, and a service to track down such people might have a place. However, it you use it just to identify private soreheads and critics, it seems to me that the negative publicity will be worse than the original problematic post. For example, Victoria's Secret's threat to sue Smoking Gun for publishing its corporate dress code had generated far more bad publicity than the item itself.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:10+00 by: Dan Lyke

To some extent the professional rumor mongers still abound. Liquor companies hire college students to hang out in bars drinking some sickly cough syrup analog with a suggestive name in order to fuel sales of their latest distilled compost run-off. But part of my investigation into the shady pyramid scheme stuff involved lots and lots of allegations of hacked discussion boards and similar, much like what the eWatch folks seem to be promsing. Tt seems that what companies are most afraid of is consumers capable of doing their own filtering. If we actually had a populace smart enough to sift through the rumors and make informed decisions many of our current crop of marketing wonders would shrivel and die.